Originally Published July 11, 2011
After only five days as a new department, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) held a news conference at the State Capitol to officially launch Give Kids a Boost in partnership with the Georgia State Patrol and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. This statewide campaign is aimed at educating Georgians on the new booster seat law and helping get kids ready for school.
“This unique collaboration between Public Health and the Georgia State Patrol represents our commitment to protecting lives,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., DPH Commissioner. “By utilizing a booster seat, parents can reduce their child’s risk of fatal injury by nearly 60 percent.”
Dr. Fitzgerald was joined by Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to discuss the importance of the new law, which requires children under age 8 to be properly secured in an approved car seat or booster seat.
State officials were joined by Kathy Mattison, a Winder mother, who shared her personal story of being hit by a drunk driver on New Year’s Day when her son and granddaughter were both in the car with her. “Thankfully, everyone walked away from that accident. Little did I know that my decision to take a class on car seats would end up saving my babies’ lives.”
At the news conference Colonel Bill Hitchens noted, “A traffic crash can occur at any time and under any travel conditions, so it is vital that children are properly restrained at all times in a motor vehicle to prevent serious injuries. Children do not know they are at risk and adults must take the proper steps to keep them safe. Give Kids a Boost is a unique partnership between two state agencies with the common goal of protecting children.”
Public health officials and community partners will be going out into communities across the state to educate parents on the new booster seat law and provide demonstrations on how to properly restrain a child in a booster seat or car seat. People are encouraged to contact their local district health department or state patrol post for more information on Give Kids Boost activities in their area.
This booster seat campaign is just one example of the many ways DPH will be educating Georgians about healthy behaviors that can save their lives.